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ARMY MEDICAL LIBRARY 



FOUNDED 1836 




WASHINGTON, D.C 



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A K 



INQUIRY 



INTO THE 



EFFECTS 

O F 

SPIRITUOUS LIQUORS 

ON THE 

HUMAN BODY. 

TO WHICH IS ADDED, 

A MORAL and PHYSICAL THERMOMETER. 



by BENJAMIN RUSH, M. D. 

Profeffor of the Theory and Pra&ice of Medic. „e ..t ihe Uftkerfity of 

Philadelphia. 




■,n 



PRINTED at BOSTON, 

by THO M A S and ANDREWS. 

M Faust's Statue, No. 45, Newbury Street. 

mdccxc. * 



An INQUIRY, &c. 



BY fpirits I mean all tliofe liquors which are obtained by 
diitillation from fermented juices or fiibftaiices of any 
kind. Thcle liquors were formerly tiled only in medicine. 
They now conltitute a principal part of the drinks of many 
countries. 

Since the introduction of fpirituous liquors into fuch gen- 
eral ufe, phyficians have remarked that a number of new dif- 
eales have appeared among us, and have defcribed many new 
iymptoms as common to old difeafes. Spirits in their firft 
operation are ftimulating upon the fyftem. They quicken 
tlie circulation of the blood, and produce fome hear in the 
body. Soon afterwards, they become what is called (edative; 
that is, they diminifh the action of the vital powers, and the/c- 
by produce languor and weaknefs. 

The effects of fpirituous liquors upon the human body, 
in producing difeafes, are fometimes gradual. A ftrong con- 
stitution, elpecially if it be aflilted with conftant and hard 
labour, will counteract the destructive effects of fpirits for 
many > ears, but in general they produce the following difeafes : 

i. A ficknefs at the ftomach, and vomiting in the morn- 
ing. This diforder is generally accompanied with a want of 
appetite for breakfaft. It is known by tremors in the hands, 
infomuch that perfons who labour under it, are hardly able 
to lift a tea cup to their heads, until they have taken a dofe 
of fome cordial liquor. In thisdilorder, a peculiar palenefs, 
with final! red ftreaks, appear in the checks. The flelhof the 
face, at the fame time, has a peculiar fulnefs and flabbinefi, 
which are very different from found and healthy fat. 

2. An univerfal dropfy. This diforder begins firft in the 
lower Limbs, and gradually extends itfelf throughout the 
whole body. I have been told that the merchants in Charlef- 
ton, Southcarolina, never trult the planters when fpirits have 
produced the firft fymptom of this diforder upon them. It 
is very natural to fuppofe that induftry and virtue have 
come extinct, in that man, whofe legs and feet are fuelled, 
from the ufe of fpirituous liquors. 

3. Obftruction of the liver. This diforder produces 
other difeafes, fuch as an inflammation, which fometimes 
grove: fuddenly fatal j the jaundice, and a dropfy of the b 

4.- Madnefa 



4 AN INQUIRY INTO THE 

4. Madnefs. It is unnecefTary to defcribe this difeafe 
with all its tenors and confequences. It is well known in 
every townlhip, where fpirituous liquors are ufed. 

5. The Pal fy. 6. TheApoplexy; and 7. The Kpilepfy, 
complete the group of difeafes produced by fpirituous liquors. 
I do not alTert that thefe diforders are never produced by any 
other caufes, but I maintain that fpirituous liquors are the 
mod frequent caufes of them, and that when a predifuofitioh 
to them is produced by other caufes, they are rendered more 
certain and more dangerous by the intemperate life of -{pints. 

I have only named a few of the principal diforders pro- 
duced by fpirituous liquors. It would take up a volume tr> 
defcribe how much other diforders natural to the human 
body, are increafed and complicated by them. Every fpecies 
of inflammatory and putrid ievcr, is rendered more frequent 
and more obftinate by the ufe oi fpirituous liquors. 

The danger to life from the difeafes which have been men- 
tioned is well known. 1 do net think it extravagant there- 
fore to repeat here, what has been often faid, that fpirituous 
tiquors deflroy more lives than tbe/zvord. War has its intervals 
ef definition ; but fpirits operate at all times and feafons, 
upon human life. The ravages of war are confined to but 
©ne part of the human fpecies, viz. to men, but fpirits aft 
too often upon perfons who are exempted from tl>e dangers 
of war by age or fex ; and laftly, wardeftroys only thole per- 
fons who allow the ufe of arms to be lawful, whereas fpirits 
infmuate their fatal effects among people, whofe principles 
are oppofed to the effufson of human blood. 

Let us next turn our eyes from the effects of fpirits upon 
health and life, to their effects upon property ; and here frefh 
fecnes of mifery open to our view. Among the inhabitants 
cf cities they produce debts, difgrace and bankruptcy. A- 
mong farmers, they produce idlenefs, with its nfual confe- 
quences, fuch as houfeswithout windows, barnswithout roofs, 
gardens without enclofure?, fields without fences, hogs with- 
out yokes, fheep without wool, meagre cattle, feeble horfes, 
and half clad, dirty children, without principles, morals, or 
manners. This picture is not exaggerated. I appeal to the 
obfervations of every man whether fuch lcenes of wretched- 
nefs do not follow the tracks of fpirituous liquors. 

If we advance one ftep further, and examine the effects of 
fpirituous liquors upon the moral /acuity, theprofpect will bs 

(till 



EFFECTS OF SPIRITUOUS LIQUORS. 5 

rtill more difrreffing and terrible. The firft effects of fpirits 
upon the mind fhew themfelves in the temper. I have con- 
ilantly obferved men who are intoxicated in any degree with 
fpifits, to Lepeevifhand quarrelfome ; after a while they lofe 
by degrees the moral fenfe. They violate promifes and en- 
gagements without fhame or remorfe. From thefe deficien- 
cies in veracity and integrity, they pafs on to crimes of a more 
heinous nature. It would be to difhonour human nature 
only to name them. 

Thus have I, in a few words, pointed out the effects of fpi- 
rituous liquors upon the lives, eftates, and fouls of my fel- 
low creatures. Their mifchiefs may be fummed up in a few- 
words. They fill our church yards with premature graves, 
they fill the Sheriff's docket with executions, they crowd our 
jails, ar.d laflly, they people the regions of ; but it be- 
longs to another profeffion to fhew their terrible consequen- 
ces in the future world. 

I (hall now proceed to combat fome prejudices in favour 
of the ufe of fpirituous liquors. 

There are three occafions in which fpirits have been thought 
neceflary and ufeful. 

ii In very cold weather. 

2. In very warm weather. And 

3. In times of hard labour. 

1 . There cannot be a greater errour than to fuppofe that 
fpirituous liquors leffen the effects of cold upon the body. 
On the contrary I maintain that they always render the body 
more liable to be affected and injured by cold. The tem- 
porary warmth they produce, is always Succeeded by chill- 
nefs. If any thing befides warm clothing and exercife is 
neceflary to warm the body in cold weather, a plentiful meal 
of wholefome food is at all times fufficient for that purpofe. 
This, by giving a tone to the flomach, invigorates the whole 
fyftem, while the gentle fever created by digeftion adds con- 
siderably to the natural and ordinary heat of the body, and 
thus renders it lefs fenfible of the cold. A piece of meat well 
peppered, and a draught of cyder or water, well gingered, 
will enable a perfon to travel in the coldeft day or night, 
without receiving any injury from the weather. 

2. It is equally abfurd to fuppofe that fpirituous liquors 
leffen the effects of heat upon the body. So far from it, they 
rather encreafe them. They add an internal heat to the ex- 
ternal 






6 AN INQUIRY INTO THE 

ternal heat of the fun ; they difpofe to fevers and inflamma- 
tions of the mod dangerous kinds ; they produce preternat- 
ural ftveats which weaken, inftead of an uniform and gentle 
perfpiration which exhilarates the body. Half the dileafe* 
which are faid to be produced by warm weather, I am per- 
fuaded are produced by the fpirits which are fwallowed t» 
leflen its effects upon the fyftein. 

3- I maintain with equal confidence, that fpirituous liquors 
do not lefll-n the effects of hard labour upon the body. Look 
at the horfe, with every mufcle of his body fwelled from 
morning until night in the plough, or the team, does he make 
figns for fpirits to enable him to cleave the earth, or to climb 
a hill ? No. He requires nothing but cool water and fubflan- 
tial food. There is neither ftrength nor nourifhmeut in fui- 
rituous liquors. If they produce vigour in labour, it is of a 
tranfient nature and is always fucceeded with a fenfe of weak- 
nefs and fatigue. Thefe fads are founded in obfervation ; 
for I have repeatedly feen thofe men perform the greatest ex- 
ploits in work both as to their degrees and duration, who 
never tafled fpirituous liquors. 

But are there no conditions of the, human body in which 
fpirituous liquors are required i. Yes, there are, ill. In thofe 
cafes where the body has been exhaufted by any caufes, and 
iaintnefs, or a ftoppage in the circulation of the blood has 
been produced, the fudden famulus of fpirits may be necel- 
fary. In this cafe we comply ftriclly with the advice of Sol- 
omon, who confines the ufe of " ftrong drink" only to him 
M that is ready to perifb !" And 2dly. When the body 
has been long expofed to wet weather, and more efpecially 
if cold be joined with it, a moderate quantity of fpirits is not 
only proper, but highly ufeful to obviate debility, and thus to 
prevent a fever. I take thefe to be the only two cafes that can 
occur, in which fpirituous liquors are innocent or necelTary. 

But if we reject: fpirits from being part of our drinks, what 
liquors fhall we fubfiitute in the room of them ? For cultom, 
the experience of all ages and countries, and even nature 
herfelf, all feem to demand drinks more grateful and more 
cordial than firnple water. 

To this I mall reply, by recommending in the room cf 
fpirits, in the firft place. 

j. CYDER. This excellent liquor contains a fmali 
quantity of fpirit, but fo diluted and blunted, by being com- 

bincd 



EFFECTS OF SPIRITUOUS LIQUORS. 7 

Wheel with an acid and a large quantity of faccharine matter 
and water, as to be perfectly inoffenfive and wholefome. 
It difagrees only with perfons fubiect to the rheumatifm, but 
k may be rendered inoffenfive to fuch people by extinguifh- 
ing a red hot iron in it, or by diluting it with water. It is 
to be lamented that the late frofts in the fpring often de- 
prive us of the fruit which affords this liquor. But the ef- 
fects of thefe frofts have been in fome meafure obviated by 
giving an orchard a north weft expofure, fo as to check too 
early vegetation, and by kindling two or three large fires of 
brufli and ftraw to windward of the orchard, the evening 
before we expecl; a night of froft. This laft expedient has 
in many inftances within the oompafs of my knowledge, pre- 
served the fruit of an orchard, to the great joy and emolu- 
ment of the ingenious hufbandman. 

2. BEER is a wholefome liquor compared with fpirits. 
The grain from which it is obtained is not liable, like the 
apple, to be affected with froft, and therefore it can always be 
procured at a moderate expenfe. It abounds with nourifh- 
ment ; hence we find many of the common people in Great 
Britain endure hard labour with no other food than a quart 
or three pints of this liquor, with a few pounds of bread in 
a day. 1 have heard with great pleafure of breweries being 
let up in feveral of the principal county towns of Pennfylva- 
nia, and I efteem it a fign of the progrefs of our State in 
wealth and happinefs, that a fingle brewer in Chefler coun- 
ty fold above iooo barrels of beer laft year. While I wiftj 
to fee a law impofing the heavieft taxes on whifky diftilleries, 
I fiiould be glad to fee breweries (at leaft for fome years) 
wholly exempted from taxation.* 

3. WINE is likewifea wholefome liquor, compared with 
fpirits. The low wines of France I believe could be drank 
at a lefs expenfe than fpirits in this country. The peafants 
in France, who drink thefe liquors in large quantifies, are a 
healthy and fober body of people. Wines of all kinds, yield, 
by chymical analyfis, the fame principles as cyder, but in dif- 
ferent proportions ; hence they are both cordial and nourifhing. 
It is remarked that few men ever become habitual drunk- 
ards upon wine. It derives its relifli principally from com- 
pany, and is feldom like fpirituous liquors, drank in a chim- 
ney I 
* A gentleman now living remembers when there were 10 or iz brew 
houfis in Bofton, and but twa diltil houles. How fadly is the cafe now 
cevcrfed ? 



8. AN INQUIRY INTO THE 

ney corner or in a clofet. The effects of wine upon the 
temper are likewife in moll cafes directly oppofite to thofe 
that were mentioned of fpirituous liquors. It mufl be a 
bad heart, indeed, that is not rendered more cheerful and 
more generous, by a few glades of wine. 

4. VINEGAR and WATER fwcetened with fugar or 
molaffes, is the bed drink that can be contrived ir*. warm 
weather. I beg leave to recommend this whole/bme mix- 
ture to reapers in a particular manner. It is pleafant and 
cooling. It promotes perfpiration, and refills putrefaction. 
Vinegar and water constituted the only drink of the foldiers 
of the Roman repnblick ; and it is well known that they 
marched, and fought in a warm climate, and beneath a load 
of arms that weighed 6ofl>s. Boaz, a wealthy farmer in Pales- 
tine, we find treated his reapers with nothing but bread 
dipped in vinegar. Say not, that Spirits have become ne- 
ceflary in harveft, from habit and the cuftom of the country. 
The cuftom of fwallowing this liquid fire, is a bad one, and 
the habit of it may be broken. Let half a dozen farmer* 
in a neighbourhood, combine to allow higher wages to their 
reapers than are common, and a Sufficient quantity of any of 
the liquors I have recommended, and they may foon abolifh 
the practice of giving them fpirits. They will in a little 
while be delighted with the good effects of their affociation. 
Their grain will be fooner and more carefully gathered into 
their barns, and an hundred di/agreeable fcenes of ficknels 
and contention will be avoided, which always follow in a 
greater or lefs degree the ufe of fpirituous liquors. Under 
this head, I fiiould not neglect to recommend butter milk 
and water, or four milk (commonly called bonneclabber) and 
water. It will be rendered more grateful by the addition 
of a little fugar. PUNCH is likewile calculated to leffen 
the effects of heat and hard labour upon the body. The 
fpirit in this liquor is blunted by its union with the vegeta- 
ble acid. Hence it poffeffes not only the conflituent parts, 
but moft of the qualities of cyder and wine. To render 
this liquor perfectly innocent and wholefome, it mult be 
drank weak, ir. moderate quantities, and only in warm weather. 

There are certain clafies of people to whom I beg leave to 
fuggefl a caution or two upon the ufe of fpirituous liquors. 
* 1. Valetudinarians, efpecially thofe who labour under 
diforders of the ftomach and bowels, are very apt to fly to 

fpirits 



EFFECTS OF SPIRITUOUS LIQUORS. 9 

fpirits for relief. Let fuch people be cautious how they re- 
peat this dangerous remedy. I have known many men and 
women, of excellent characters and principles, who have 
been betrayed by occafional dofes of gin or brandy to eafe 
the cholick, into a love of fpirituous liquors, infomuch that 
they have afterwards fallen facrifices to their fatal effects. 
The different preparations of opium are a thoufand times 
more fafe and innocent than fpirituous liquors, in all fpafmod- 
ick affect ions of the ftomach and bowels. Soapprehenfiveain 
I of the danger of contracting a love for fpirituous liquors, by 
accufloming the ftomach to their ftimulus, that I think the 
fewer medicines we exhibit in fpirituous vehicles the better. 

2. Some people from living in countries fubjedl to the 
intermitting fever, endeavour to fortify themfclves againfl 
it by two or three glafles of bitters made with fpirits every 
day. There is great danger of men becoming fots from this 
practice. Bcfides, this mode of preventing intermittents is 
by no means a certain one. A much better fecurity a- 
gainfl them is to be found in the Jefuits bark. A tea fpoon 
full of this excellent medicine taken every morning during 
the fickly feafon, has in many instances preferved whole fam- 
ilies in the neighbourhood of rivers and mill ponds from fe- 
vers of all kinds. Thofe who live in a fickly part of the 
country, and who cannot procure the bark, or who object 
to taking it, I would advife to avoid the morning and even- 
ing air in the fickly months, to kindle fires in their houfes on 
damp days, and in cool evenings, throughout the whole fum- 
mer, and to put en woolen clothing about the firft week in 
September. The laff part of this direction applies only to the 
inhabitants of the middle States. Thefe cautions I am perluad- 
ed will be more effectual in preventing autumnal fevers than 
the belt preparations that can be made from-bitters in fpirits. 

3. Men who follow profeflions that require a conftant 
exercife of the mind or body, or perhaps of both, are very 
apt to feek relief from fatigue in fpirituous liquors. To 
fuch perfons 1 would beg leave to recommend the ufe of tea 
inftead of fpirits. Fatigue is occasioned by the obftruction 
oi perfpiration. Tea, by reftoring perfpiraticn, removes 
fatigue, and thus invigorates the fyftem. 1 am no advocate 
for the general or excefiive ufe of tea. When drank too 
ffrong, it is -huitful, efpecially to the female conftitutionfc 
but when drank of a moderate degree oi >trength> and in 
B - moderate 



io AN INQUIRY INTO THE 

moderate quantities, with fugar and cream or milk, I believe 
jt is in general innocent, and at all times to be preferred to 
fpirituous liquors. One of the mod indubious fchool maf- 
ters I ever knew, told me that he had been preferved from 
the love of fpirituous liquors by contracting a love for tea 
in early life. Three or four dimes drank in an afternoon, 
carried off the fatigue of a whole day's labour in his fchool. 
This gentleman lived to be 71 years of age, and afterwards 
died of an acute difeafe, in the full excrcife of all the facul- 
ties of his mind. 

To every clafs of my readers, I beg leave to fuggeft a cau- 
tion againrt the uie of TODDY or GROG. I acknowledge 
that I have known fome men, who, by limiting its flrength, 
cOnftantly meafuring the fpirit and water, and who by 
drinking it only with their meals, have drank toddy or grog 
tor many years without fufiering in any degree from it ; but 
I have known many more who have been infenfibly led from 
drinking toddy for their conftant drink, to take drams in the 
morning, and have afterwards paid their lives as the price of 
their folly. I fhall felccl one cafe from among many that 
have come within the compafs of my knowledge, to fhew the 
ordinary progrefs of intemperance in the ufe of fpirituous liq- 
uors. Agentleman, once of a fair and fober character, in the 
city of Philadelphia, for many years drank toddy as his con- 
itant drink. From this he proceeded to drink grog. After 
a while nothing would fatisfy him but flings made of equal 
parts of rum and water, with a little fugar. From flings he 
advanced to raw rum, and from common rum to Jamaica 
fpirits. Here he relied for a few months ; but at laft he found 
even Jamaicafpiritswerenot ftrong enough to warm his ftom- 
ach, and he made it a conltant practice to throw a table fpooa 
full of ground pepper into each glafs of his fpirits, in order, 
(to ule his own expreflion) f* to take off their coldnefs." It 
is hardly neceflary to add, that he foon afterwards died a 
martyr to his intemperance. 

1 fhall conclude what has been faid of the effects of fpirit- 
uous liquors, with two obfervatiojis. 1. A people corrupt- 
ed with itrong drink cannot long be a free people. The rulers 
of fitch a community will foon partake of the vices of that 
mafs from which they are fecreted, and all our laws and gov- 
ernments will fooner or later bear the fame marks of the ef- 
fects of fpirituous liquors which were defcribed formerly upoa 

individuals 



EFFECTS OF SPIRITUOUS LIQUORS. ,c 

individuals. I fubmit it therefore to the confideration of our 
Legislatures, whether more laws Should nut be made to en- 
creafe the expenfe and Leflen the confumptioa of fpirituous 
liquors, and whether fomc mark of publick infamy mould not 
be infiicted by law upon every man, convidted before a com- 
mon magistrate, of drunkennefs. 

The Second and laftobfervation I mail offer, is of a ferious 
nature. It has been remarked that the Indians have dimin- 
ished every wherein America fince their connections with the 
Europeans. This has been juftly afcribed to the Europeans 
having introduced fpirituous liquors among them. Let thofe 
men who are every day turning their backs upon all the be- 
nefits of cultivated fociety, to feek habitations in the neigh- 
bourhood of Indians, confider how far this wandering mode 
of lite is produced by the fame caufe which has fcattered and 
annihilated fo many Indian tribes. Long life, and the fecure 
pofTeflion of property, in the land of their ancestors, was look- 
ed upon as a bleffing among the ancient Jews. For a fon to 
mingle his duft with the du(t of his father, was to act worthy 
ot his inheritance ; and the profpect of this honour often af- 
forded a confolation even in death. However exalted, my 
countrymen, your ideas of liberty may be, while you expofe 
yourlclvesby the ufe of fpirituous liquors to this confequence 
of them, you are nothing more than the pioneers, or in more 
Slavish terms, the " hewers of wood" of your more industri- 
ous neighbours. • 

If the facts that have been Stated, Should produce in any of 
my readers who have fuffered from the ufe of fpirituous liq- 
uors, a refolution to abstain from them hereafter, I muSt beg 
leave to inform them that they muSt leave them off fuddenly 
an&etitirely. No man waseverg/W«tf//yreformed fromdrink- 
ing Spirits. He muSt not only avoid tafting, but even fmell- 
ing them, until long habits of abstinence have fubdued his 
affection for them. To prevent his feeling any inconven- 
iences from the hidden lofs of their Stimulus upon his Stomach, 
he Should drink plentifully of camomile or of any other bit- 
ter tea, or a few glaSTes of found old wine every day. I have 
great pleafure in adding, that I have feen a number of people 
who have been ejjWlualiy reflored to health, to character, and 
to ufcfulnefs to their families and to fociety, by following this 
advice, 

A MORA E 



A MORAL and PHYSICAL THERMOMETER : 

Or, a Seals of the Pngrcfs of Temperance and Intemperance. 

LIQUORS, With their EFFECTS, in cheir ufual Order. 

TEMPERANCE. 



7C_ WATER, 



~ 



f Milk and Water, 
< Vinegar and Water, 
I MolalVes and Water, 

Small beer, 



Cider, 
Wine, 
Porter, 

Strong Bier, 

fWeak 

I 

Punch< 

(^Strong 
Toddy, 

Grog, 

Flip, 

siings, y^ 



>< 



>< 



Health, Wealth, 
Serenity of mind, 
Reputation, long life, and 
Happinefs. 

Cheerfulnefs, 

Strength and 

Nourishment, when taken 
only at meals, and in 
moderate quantities. 



INTEMPERANCE. 



Bitters, ir.fufed 
in Spirit!. 



Morning drams 
°J — '.Pepper inRurn 




" VICES. " 

Idlencfs, 
Peevi/hnefs 
Quarrelling 
Fighting, 
Lying, 
Swearing, 
Obfcenity, 
Fraud, 
Anarchy 
Hatred of 
juft gov't. 
Mulder, 
'-SUICIDE- 



DISEASES.! 



f PUNISH. 
MENTS. 



h 



Gout, 
Sicknefs, 
Puking, and 
Tremors of 

the hanJsin 

the morn';; 
Bloats' iifl i, 
lnflam d eye^ 
Rednofe & i. 
Sore an.l 

fwelled legs, W 
Jaunaice, 
Pains in the 

limbs, and 

burning in 

the holies 

arid feet, 
Dropfy, 
B pileply, 
Melanc tic ly, 

eft, 

Paify, 
Apoplexy, 
■DEATH. 



Debt, 

Black ejes, 

Rags, 

Hunger, 

Alms houfe, 

Workhoufe, 

Jail, 

Whipping 

Pott, 
Ca.tklfland, 

^-CALLOWS 



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